When a bright orange Coast Guard helicopter hovers over an event and lands in a ceremonial flourish, you know it’s a special day.
And Feb. 21 was indeed special: Cutler Bay’s 10th Founders Day celebration at Cutler Ridge Park.
The town, which was incorporated in 2005, was the last city, to date, in Miami-Dade County allowed to incorporate.
The Founders Day event featured baked goods provided by the Cutler Ridge Women’s Club, bounce houses, petting zoos, music, food and a presentation from Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Levine Cava, honoring the town’s 10-year anniversary.
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“Our town’s greatest achievement ... has been the residents’ ability to establish their own laws and zoning, having the ability to determine their own destiny,” town Mayor Peggy Bell said.
“We felt the tax money this area sent to the county was not being fairly distributed here. We felt forgotten.. Before incorporating we were given no say in the facilities placed in our area, nor a say in our zoning.”
Bell said some of the town’s biggest changes over the years have been doubling park space, building up Town Hall, providing community bus service, reducing homeowners flood insurance costs and establishing citizen advisory committees.
Other big changes for the town include allowing golf cart usage on streets, taking the lead on environmental initiatives, establishing master plans, getting its own high school, saving $20 million for emergencies and keeping taxes low.
The circulator bus has a monthly ridership of 3,000 passengers.
“I think [Founder’s Day] was a wonderful event,” councilmember Mary Ann Mixon said. “We had a great turnout and the staff did a fabulous job of putting everything together.”
“It means a lot for our town. We have come such a long way, even from five years ago until now. I am very proud of how far we have come and the way that the town has grown and developed. The Founder’s Day event represented that.”
Other town highlights include:
▪ Town staff participated in the 2015 “Books, Books, & Books” Relay For Life on Saturday, Feb. 28 at Evelyn Greer Park. The town’s team ‒ named “If you give a mouse a cookie” ‒ was captained by Bell. The mayor spoke at the candle lighting “Luminaria Ceremony,” which memorialized those lost to cancer and championed hope for finding a cure. Relay for Life has raised nearly $5 billion to fight cancer since 1985. Each year the movement raises more than $400 million, taking place in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries.
▪ Bell will also be speaking at the Cutler Bay Business Association (CBBA) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 12. Bell will give an update on the town, legislative priorities, and discuss other items.
▪ The town is also holding a free family movie night at 7 p.m. March 13 at Lakes by the Bay Park, featuring The Lego Movie.
▪ The next scheduled town council meeting is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 at Town Hall, 10720 Caribbean Blvd.